I am looking for a photo management solution that I can use on both my Mac Mini and Mac Book Air. As with everybody I have a stack of photos, certainly more than is feasible to store on my MBAs 128GB SSD. So I store them on the Mac Mini (I have a server model with two drives). Currently they are in Lightroom 5 (imported from Aperture)

But in doing this, I can not access photos from the MBA (when I'm sitting on the couch etc)

With Lightroom's insistence on the catalogue being local, I would need to store the photos on a NAS and sync the catalogue file between the two machines - does anyone do this? Is it practical? How do you ensure the catalogues are synced properly? How does Lightroom behave of the NAS is not available?

But are there any other solutions? Other management applications?

Ideally I would like to:

  1. Access the photo library from any of my systems (if I'm remote I would use a VPN to be on the same LAN)

  2. Import on either the Mac Mini or MBA

  3. No local storage of photos (only data like previews)

  4. Ability to make changes to images (most likely just labelling/tagging images)

  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ Possible duplicate of Sharing Lightroom Catalog \$\endgroup\$
    – inkista
    Aug 16, 2016 at 18:08
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Possible duplicate of What is the best way to synchronize Adobe Lightroom databases between two computers? \$\endgroup\$
    – mattdm
    Aug 16, 2016 at 18:50
  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks for both those answers; I did not find them on my search, and we're both interesting to read, though unfortunately provided no new information. They suffer in either being cumbersome, multi step solutions and/or require you to have duplicates of the data on both systems using sync software. Neither of which are attractive solitons to me. Perhaps storing photos on the nas and a \$\endgroup\$ Aug 16, 2016 at 22:13
  • \$\begingroup\$ tool to just syncs the catalogue via the nas is possible. \$\endgroup\$ Aug 16, 2016 at 22:23
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ can you not use screen sharing to access the mini from the air? \$\endgroup\$
    – Alaska Man
    Aug 17, 2016 at 18:13

3 Answers 3


I do this today, but more old school style: I use Lightroom, but all my images, and the Lightroom Catalog, are stored on a portable hard drive. I simply connect the drive when I want to work on Lightroom. Doesn't matter what computer is connected, since all the data, and the catalog is on the portable drive. Just be sure to open the catalog on the hard drive.

Of course, I must remember to bring the hard drive, and connect it, so not a convenient as a cloud solution, but easy and effective.


I think https://getmonument.com offers a good solution. I don't work or related to them. Just found it useful to share with you.


Monument allows you to connect your HDs to it via USB. Then you can connect smartphones and PCs via ethernet/wifi and upload your photos to the box. It will organize them based on their AI software. Then you can show the albums on phones or screen (via HDMI).

Reading comments on their kickstarter campaign, it seems multi-users are not yet active on the shipped devices but the team says they are working on it. For now, multiple users can upload photos on the box, but they can not see each others' photos.

  1. It is possible to access your photos on the box remotely.
  2. You can import photos on your Mac Mini
  3. It saves all your photos so there is no need for local storage
  4. It automatically tags your photos. I don't know if manual tagging is possible.
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Could you please expand on this answer to include WHY this service/product is good. It would also be helpful to include any negative points to help others make a balanced judgement on whether this system fits their needs. \$\endgroup\$ Feb 13, 2017 at 1:12
  • \$\begingroup\$ @damnedtruths thanks! Was going to ask the same question! Am investigating it now in any case \$\endgroup\$ Feb 13, 2017 at 13:17
  • \$\begingroup\$ @damnedtruths Updated. \$\endgroup\$ Feb 14, 2017 at 5:49

I've abandoned Lightroom, I'm afraid to say. Instead I'm testing photos + iCloud. It's not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but it's been the least-bad system I've tried!


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